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Governor Chafee Announces $1.97 Million in Governor's Workforce Board Innovative Partnership Grants

Grants Connect Employers, Educational Providers to Develop Opportunities for Unemployed and Underemployed Rhode Islanders

Providence, RI - Governor Lincoln D. Chafee announced today that the Governor's Workforce Board RI has awarded $1.97 million dollars in Innovative Partnership grants, which bring employers and educational providers together to develop career opportunities for students, out-of-school youth and unemployed or underemployed adults.

Ten grants, ranging in size from $130,000 to $250,000, were awarded to three community-based organizations, three employers, three GWB industry partners and one educational institution. These include Amos House, Connecting for Children and Families, New England Institute of Technology, OpenDoors, RI Hospital, RI Marine Trades Association, St. Antoine's Residence, Stepping Up, Tech Collective and the J. Arthur Trudeau Memorial Center.

Collectively, the grants will serve more than 540 participants in such industries as hospitality, health care, information technology, marine trades and green technology. Funding for the innovative partnership comes from the employer-financed Job Development Fund. Of the participants, 420 are expected to gain work experience and/or internship opportunities through the training programs. The Governor's Workforce Board projects that more than half of the participants – approximately 300 – may find permanent employment related to their training.

While three employers served as lead applicants for awarded partnerships, the actual number of RI employers providing work-related services through the Innovative Partnership grants number more than 50.

"Workforce development and training is a major economic development priority of my administration," Governor Chafee said. "To accelerate Rhode Island's economic recovery, we must continue to work to better address the training needs of our businesses. By connecting employers with educational providers to serve the needs of the unemployed and underemployed, we are making real progress toward closing some of the skill gaps in our state."

GWB Executive Director Rick Brooks added that the response to the Innovative Partnerships Request for Proposals was "very competitive," garnering 32 applications that represented a total of $5.4 million in grant requests. Brooks expects the 10 partnerships to become operational by late spring.

Organizations that have received Innovative Partnership grants will recruit their own program participants. Those interested in consideration should contact the organizations directly.

Grant awardees are as follows:

The community-based organization Amos House of Providence was awarded $145,282 to enroll 60 homeless and low-income Rhode Islanders in an expanded culinary program that includes training in customer service and front-of-house operations. Employer partners include Blount Fine Foods, Bristol Harbor Bake Mixes, Friendship Café, More than a Meal Catering, Rhode Island School of Design and White Glove Service. White Glove Service also serves as an education partner.

The community-based organization Connecting for Children and Families of Woonsocket was awarded $168,366 to provide experiential culinary arts and hospitality training to 60 unemployed and underemployed area residents. Employer partners include the Cakery, Grumpy's Restaurant, Head Start Child Development Association, Kay's Restaurant, Kevin's Galley Fish & Chips, The Lodge Pub & Eatery, NeighborWorks Blackstone River Valley, Riverfalls Restaurant and Lounge, Olly's Pizzeria, St. Antoine Residence, and Uno Chicago Grill. Education partners include the RI Hospitality Education Foundation and Chef Mario Santilli.

Educational provider the New England Institute of Technology in East Greenwich was awarded $250,000 to provide 50 unemployed individuals with entry-level occupational skills training within the shipbuilding and machine technology industries. Employer partners include General Dynamics/Electric Boat, Guill Tool and Engineering, Jade Engineered Plastics, SENESCO Marine and Swissline Precision Manufacturing.

The community-based organization OpenDoors of Providence was awarded $130,423 to provide transitional employment, additional certification training and post-certification internships for 20 ex-offenders ages 25-30. Employer partners include Office Recycling Solutions and Providence Computer Resources. The RI Department of Corrections and Providence Computer Resources serve as education partners.

Area employer Rhode Island Hospital of Providence was awarded $226,848 to provide accelerated certified nursing assistant training to 45 unemployed and underemployed Rhode Islanders. Additional employer partners include Miriam Hospital and Summit Commons. The RI Nurse institute Middle College Charter School serves as an education partner.

The RI Marine Trades Association of Bristol—a GWB Industry Partner—was awarded $142,788 to offer a pre-apprenticeship training program for 20 unemployed and underemployed Rhode Islanders. Employer partners include Bristol Marine, Freedom Boat Club, Hinckley Yachts, Hunt Yachts, LaserPerformance and Newport Shipyard. Education partners include Confident Captain, the Gowrie Group, International Yacht Restoration School, JH Restorations, Kellogg Marine Supply, New England Institute of Technology and SkillsUSA.

Area employer St. Antoine Residence of North Smithfield was awarded $248,823 to provide certified nursing assistant and health care career training, in combination with career counseling, job readiness training and case management services, to 151 Rhode Islanders. Additional employer partners include the Ballou Home, Evergreen (Northern RI Assisted Living), Hebert Health Center, Heritage Hill, Homefront Healthcare, Overlook Nursing Home and Trinity Health. Educational partners include CareLink, the Community College of Rhode Island, Family Resources Community Action, Haig and Associates, the Pathfinder Foundation, RIRAL and Stepping Up.

Stepping Up of Providence—a GWB Industry Partner—was awarded $247,363 to create clinical residency opportunities and mentoring for 24 unemployed and underemployed, newly licensed registered nurses who have already earned an associate's degree. Employer partners include AccessPoint RI, Butler Hospital, Emerald Bay Retirement Living, J. Arthur Trudeau Memorial Center, Kent Hospital, Miriam Hospital, Rhode Island Hospital, Thundermist Health Center, VNA of Care New England and Women & Infants Hospital. The RI Action Coalition serves as an education partner.

The Tech Collective of Providence—a GWB Industry Partner—was awarded $218,118 to provide work readiness and technology training, as well as certification and experiential learning, to 15 unemployed and underemployed Rhode Islanders. Employer partners include AAA Southern New England, Atrion Networking Corp., Brave River Solutions, CVS, Envision Technology Advisors, GTECH, PC Troubleshooters, NetSense, and Vertical Performance. Education partners include New Horizons Computer Training Center and the Bryant University Executive Development Center.

Area employer the J. Arthur Trudeau Memorial Center of Warwick was awarded $192,865 to provide training and internship experiences to 100 job seekers interested in becoming Direct Service Providers for the state's disabled and senior populations. The Community College of Rhode Island serves as an education partner.

The Governor's Workforce Board is the primary policy-making body on workforce development matters for the State of Rhode Island, and has statutory responsibility and authority to plan, coordinate, fund and evaluate workforce development activities in the state. Since its inception in 2005, the Governor's Workforce Board has made more than $65 million in strategic investments that reward collaboration among the state's employment, education and economic development entities. For more information, visit

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